Many print journalists, even those who resisted change, are trying to embrace the digital future. Twenty-year veterans take up social media after taking a buyout, and journalism programs now give aspiring reporters basic multimedia skills. But a facility with Twitter or Soundslides combined with an occupational knack for asking questions won't always add up to the skills necessary to redesign a Web site or create an app. The truth is, journalists and programmers think in fundamentally different ways—words vs. code; stories vs. systems—and often have a hard time communicating and collaborating. And the problem is asymmetrical; most programmers can quickly grasp enough about journalism to work with journalists, but it's much harder to get, say, a midlevel editor to understand the basics of software development or database design. I often find myself wishing I could recommend a course to that colleague or to an unemployed journalist that would teach them how the other half thinks. Most of us have had to muddle through on our own, until we have a road to Damascus moment. But there's got to be a better way. How can we teach journalists to think about technology?
Blake Eskin is the web editor of The New Yorker magazine and the host of The New Yorker Out Loud podcast.
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